We are more than 35 years into the practice of record labels utilizing compact discs to sell a venerated artist's catalogue while also telling a story through the format's expanded capacity and clarion sound capabilities. The one-two punch of Bob Dylan's Biograph (1985) and Eric Clapton's Crossroads (1988) helped legitimize the idea of the CD box set and put both artists' bodies of work in sharper focus at a time when both of them were, should we say, not as relevant to the cultural
Let There Be Love: SoulMusic Collects, Expands Shirley Murdock's Elektra Albums
As a member of the extended family of funk group Zapp, Shirley Murdock memorably added her vocals to the 1986 hit "Computer Love" (for which she also shares a co-writing credit). Concurrently, Murdock was launching her own solo career at Elektra Records, where she would release three solo LPs through 1991. Now, Cherry Red's SoulMusic Records imprint has revisited and expanded that trio of albums on As We Lay: The Elektra Recordings (1985-1991), a new 3-CD collection that's an essential
To Groove You: Cherry Red's Robinsongs Boxes Kleeer's Atlantic Albums
Richard Lee (guitar), Norman Durham (bass), Paul Crutchfield (percussion/keyboards) and Woody Cunningham (lead vocals/drums) united in 1972 as The Choice 4 before evolving into The Jam Band, Pipeline and, under the aegis of Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael, The Universal Robot Band. After flirting with R&B, funk, disco and even straight-ahead rock, the quartet settled as Kleeer and signed to Atlantic Records. Between 1979 and 1985, Kleeer released seven albums on Atlantic, proving worthy
Holiday Gift Guide Spotlight: Cherry Red Box Set Bonanza - Evelyn "Champagne" King, "The RCA Albums 1977-1985"
Perhaps no label this holiday season has offered such a bonanza of box sets as Cherry Red. Today we kick off a three-part feature on five of these sets (any of which just might make the perfect stocking stuffer!) with a Holiday Gift Guide spotlight on Evelyn "Champagne" King's The RCA Albums 1977-1985. Bronx-born, Philadelphia-raised vocalist Evelyn "Champagne" King came from a showbiz family including her uncle Avon Long - perhaps best known as Sportin' Life in multiple productions of Porgy
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Donna Summer, "The Wanderer: 40th Anniversary"
A new beginning - Donna Summer was certainly ready for one when she signed as the first artist on David Geffen's upstart record label in 1980. She had clashed and litigated with her longtime home of Casablanca Records over her artistic direction, and on a personal level had become a born-again Christian. Her first album for Geffen would build on her success at Casablanca but confidently introduce a new Donna Summer, as well. The Wanderer, her eighth studio album, became a top 20 success in
Review: Donna Summer, "A Hot Summer Night"
"This isn't just my show...this is your show!" Donna Summer exclaimed during "MacArthur Park," the opening song of her August 6, 1983 concert at Costa Mesa, California's Pacific Amphitheatre. Now, that memorable concert dubbed A Hot Summer Night truly can be yours, as Driven by the Music and Crimson Productions have debuted it on CD and DVD as well as on a separate vinyl release. A Hot Summer Night, part of Summer's Hard for the Money tour, was filmed in the wake of the She Works Hard for
With Every Beat of My Heart: Cherry Pop Reissues, Expands Laura Branigan's "Self Control"
Laura Branigan became an overnight sensation with the release of 1982's "Gloria." Her throbbing adaptation of Umberto Tozzi's Italian hit not only reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (held from the top spot by Lionel Richie's "Truly") but spent 36 weeks on the chart, establishing a new record for a solo female artist. A dance party anthem for a post-disco age, "Gloria" helped propel the singer's debut album, Branigan, to top 40 status and a Gold sales certification. It set the stage for
Paradise: Edsel Celebrates the Music of Change on CD Box Set, Vinyl Collection
It's been said that the only true constant is change - and that's certainly been borne out by the group bearing that moniker. Between 1980 and 1985, the rotating line-ups collectively known as Change released six albums built around insistent rhythms, catchy hooks, and commanding vocals. Unexpectedly in 2018, Change returned from a three-decade-plus hiatus with a new album that captured the old magic. Late last year, Demon Music Group's Edsel label chronicled Change's discography on CD in a
Ace Round-Up, Part One: London American and Westbound Records Anthologies
Having previously chronicled 1956-1966 over eleven volumes, Ace has returned to its London American Label series for a last (?) hurrah. The London American Label Year by Year: 1967 is packed with 28 stellar selections to illuminate a year in which the label was in steadfast decline. London had long been the destination for great American records, but the major U.S. companies were launching their own U.K. arms and declining to license to London. This led London to release fewer 45s from
Review: Cheryl Lynn, "Got To Be Real: The Columbia Anthology"
Last month, Cherry Red's SoulMusic imprint released an exciting new compilation of Cheryl Lynn classics. Got To Be Real: The Columbia Anthology brings together 31 of the powerhouse vocalist's most enduring tracks. The 2-CD set not only represents tracks from her classic Columbia albums Cheryl Lynn (1978), In Love (1979), In the Night (1981), Instant Love (1982), Preppie (1983) and It's Gonna Be Right (1985), but also features rare 12" remixes; dance versions; soundtrack selections; and duets
Review: Klaus Nomi, "Klaus Nomi" (Real Gone Vinyl Reissue)
With the new reissue of Klaus Nomi's self-titled debut album, Real Gone Music has presented another lost classic album on vinyl for the first time since its original release some three decades ago. It's one that is full of strangeness, starkness, and subtlety. Klaus Nomi stuns with a diverse repertoire, an over-the-top theatricality, but, more importantly, a dedication to craft that sometimes gets lost in the narrative. Yes, the NYC performance artist collaborated with David Bowie (as seen on
Review: Fiat Lux, "Hired History Plus: Expanded Edition"
Fiat Lux -- from the Latin for "let there be light" - were originally a synth-pop band that shone for a brief period in the '80s. Formed in 1982 and hailing from Wakefield in Yorkshire, England, they pioneered a unique sonic stamp, the influence of which is still felt today. Their pioneering blend was full of lush synthesizer textures, acoustic and electric keyboards, and studio effects - all anchored by Steve Wright's emotive vocals. Multi-instrumentalist David Crickmore provided guitar, bass,
Review: Vanessa Daou, "Zipless"
When Vanessa Daou's debut album Zipless: Songs From the Works of Erica Jong was first released in 1994, it garnered acclaim across the industry for its other-worldly production, sex-positive lyrics, and, of course, for Daou's impressive vocal delivery. Time called it an exquisite album, Slant listed it among the 100 Best Albums of the '90s, and even Rush's Alex Lifeson commended its cross-genre blend. It's since become a landmark album in electronic music, though to simply call it electronic
If They Could See Me Now: Blixa Sounds Reissues Four Albums From Linda Clifford
May 1978 was certainly Linda Clifford's month. The Chicago songstress had taken to the top of the Billboard Disco chart - and wasn't about to let it go for five consecutive weeks. The bold reinvention of Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields' Sweet Charity showstopper "If My Friends Could See Me Now" established Clifford in the top tier of disco superstars, and now Blixa Sounds is revisiting that golden era. On Friday, the label will reissue four of Clifford's albums for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom
This Time, Baby: BBR Reissues, Expands Jackie Moore's Philly Disco Classic "I'm On My Way"
By the time Jackie Moore recorded the album entitled I'm On My Way, she certainly was. After early singles on the Shout and Wand labels, the Florida-born R&B vocalist had scored a success on the larger Atlantic Records with "Precious, Precious." The single, produced by southern soul veteran (and her cousin) Dave Crawford and co-written by the singer and producer, made it to No. 12 on the R&B chart and No. 30 Pop, and established Moore as a chart presence. Working with Crawford and his
Shake Your Body: "The John Luongo Disco Mixes" Features Jacksons, Mathis, Labelle, Sly Stone, and More
Can You Feel the Force? asks the title of Groove Line Records' new compilation of The John Luongo Disco Mixes. The force is undeniable on this 2-CD, 21-track selection of some of the finest floor-fillers crafted by the Boston DJ-turned-pioneering disco mix master. Luongo had a vision for disco that extended beyond the expected; hence, this dynamite set mostly drawn from the Sony vaults features an eclectic array of artists from the realms of R&B (The Jacksons. Gladys Knight and the Pips,
Holiday Gift Guide Review: Johnny Mathis, "The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection"
I. Wonderful, Wonderful "A new sound in popular music," heralded the back cover of Johnny Mathis' 1956 debut album. That self-titled release on Columbia Records introduced a voice that's now instantly familiar: expressive, rich, creamy, seductive, and tender, with a clarion, controlled vibrato that set it apart from any other tone in the golden age of American song. As Columbia's George Avakian realized, Mathis' natural instrument was perfect for jazz - capable of navigating the form's
Review: "Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track" [Super Deluxe Box Set]
Listen to the ground...there is movement all around... Saturday Night Fever didn't invent disco...but in many ways, it epitomized the genre. With the December 1977 release of the John Badham-directed drama and its soundtrack album, the onetime underground dance movement which had been rising to the mainstream since at least 1974 became the mainstream. Disco's alluring blend of the gritty and the glamorous gained a face in the form of John Travolta, whose tough yet tender Tony Manero of Bay
Hungry for Fun: Samantha Fox Receives 4 Disc CD/DVD "Fox Box" from Cherry Pop
Last year marked the 30th anniversary of Samantha Fox's debut on Jive Records. Recently, Cherry Red imprint Cherry Pop Records released a box set chronicling her career. The 2CD/2DVD set Play It Again, Sam: The Fox Box traces Fox's musical journey from 1986 all the way up through the present day. While initially gaining fame in the U.K. as a model, Samantha Fox began a career in music at nearly the same time. In her early teens, she formed the band SFX, which also included Ringo Starr's
Party Is a Groovy Thing: People's Choice Philly Soul and Funk Collected by BBR
Philadelphia International Records, home of The Sound of Philadelphia, wasn't always the most hospitable label for bands. After all, the label's "house band" MFSB featured some of the finest musicians anywhere, so self-contained units such as Instant Funk, Force of Nature, or even the venerable Soul Survivors inevitably played second fiddle to the vocal groups supported so deftly by MFSB. But of all the Philly International bands, one rose above the rest. People's Choice scored an R&B
Review: Liza Minnelli, "Results: Expanded 4-Disc Edition"
The list of Liza Minnelli's musical partners reads like a "Who's Who" of popular culture: Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Charles Aznavour, Donna Summer, Joel Grey, Chita Rivera, and of course, her mother Judy Garland, to name a few. Yet one of Minnelli's most cherished collaborations was also one of her most unexpected. 1989's Results was the superstar's first studio album in over a decade, and teamed her with Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, a.k.a. the British dance-pop duo Pet Shop Boys.
Oh, Honey: Big Break Celebrates 40 Years of Delegation with Two New Releases
Over the course of just four albums released between 1977 and 1982, Delegation established a reputation and a following that continues to this very day based on the group's sleek brand of soulful, dance-infused R&B. The trio, still active today as led by founding member Ricky Bailey, has long been a mainstay of Cherry Red's Big Break Records label. That association which has recently culminated in a pair of potent releases: the definitive, double-disc anthology In Love's Time: The
Party, Party: Big Break Reissues, Expands "The Best of Eruption"
Following last year's expanded reissues of the group's first two albums, Big Break Records has returned to the catalogue of Eruption with another title from the soulful disco group. The Best of Eruption was originally released on the Hansa label in 1981, but BBR's new iteration has happily upped the track listing from 14 to 19 selections to provide a fuller overview of Eruption's positively volcanic legacy in disco, pop, soul, funk, and R&B. Founded in the United Kingdom in 1969 by
'Til You're Satisfied: Big Break Collects The Best of B.T. Express On New 2-CD Set
Big Break Records has just boarded the B.T. Express - destination: the crossroads of funk, soul, and disco. Give Up the Funk: The B.T. Express Anthology 1974-1982 is a comprehensive, career-spanning 2-CD, 31-track chronicle of the band that scored ten U.S. R&B chart entries (including two No. 1s) and five on the Pop chart (two top 5s). B.T. Express was formed by Richard "Rick" Thompson on guitar, Bill Risbrook (tenor saxophone), Carlos Ward (alto saxophone), Louis Risbrook (bass), Dennis
Intervention Reissues Erasure's Debut "Wonderland" On Deluxe LP
Intervention Records has continued its (Re)Discover series of pristine vinyl recreations of classic LPs with an album of eighties vintage that just might send you down the rabbit hole. It's possible to get lost in Erasure's Wonderland thanks to Intervention's recent 30th anniversary presentation of songwriter-keyboardist Vince Clarke and singer-songwriter Andy Bell's collection of crystalline synth-pop. Clarke was known for his work with Depeche Mode and as one-half with Alison Moyet of